We thought we would give you a sense of the variety of plants and animals that make their home at Pinestead or at least pass through it. While we see nature's abundance throughout the year, much of it is buried under snow or has migrated away by the time you visit us during the Christmas season.
We recall a study which stated there are roughly five times more species of wildlife on a Christmas tree farm then on a conventional row crop farm. While we don't have the study to reference, we can do some survey work of our own. We do consider ourselves as stewards of our land and while we can't claim to be trained naturalists, we don't have to have formal training to have a love for the land and the plants and animals that make it their home.
What we have started on these pages is to attempt to identify nature's diversity right here at Pinestead. We will continue to add photos and descriptions as we get the opportunity to do so. Stay with us as we add to it over time. We will never find and identify everything, but, hopefully, we'll eventually get most, and this undertaking will make us even more aware of the mystery and beauty of nature around us.
Partially as an outgrowth of this effort, but primarily because of our love of the outdoors and nature, Phil has become a Minnesota Master Naturalist. For more information on the naturalist program see www.miinnesotamasternasturalist.org or call or email us at the farm.
Please visit the following pages to see what we have identified to date and check back occasionally for additions. We started this undertaking in Fall, 2010, but there will never be an end date. There will always be something new if we just keep our eyes and ears open.. Again, only subjects identified in the wild at Isanti Pinestead are included. All photos are also taken only at Isanti Pinestead. Nothing that we have planted and are growing to sell is included on these pages.
Animal residents and visitors (16 identified, 4 photographed)
Bird residents and visitors (28 identified, 22 photographed)
Insect residents and visitors. ( 21 identified, 8 photographed)
Trees growing on the farm. (6 identified, 6 photographed)
Bushes, shrubs and vines growing on the farm. (11 identified, 11 photographed)
Plants growing on the farm (58 identified, 51 photographed)
Amphibians and Reptiles (3 identified, 1 photographed)
There are two additional categories for which we have not created pages. One is fish--we actually have seen minnows in our creek! The other is fungus--we have had needlecast fungus outbreaks which we have to control.
We are using the following reference guides as aids. While we are trying to be as accurate as possible, we're sure glad it's not a test; or at least that it's an open book test. Note that whenever possible we are putting an abbreviation (per below) and page number on each entry.
This reference list is growing! It didn't take us long to realize that no one book is complete and that factors such as light and shadows, and time of season can make a photo in one book look considerably different than in another book.
The best field guides we have come across, and the most relevant to our needs, are the series by Stan Tekiela, a Minnesota native living in Victoria, MN, and published by Adventure Publications in nearby Cambridge, MN. There are more, but the one's we are using are:
Mammals of Minnesota (MMn)
Birds of Minnesota (BMn)
Trees of Minnesota (TMn)
Wild Flowers of Minnesota (WFMn)
Tekiela's entire "... of Minnesota" series is available at Bear Books located in downtown Isanti. Bear Books is an independent bookstore which specializes in books by local authors and books on local and regional topics.
Adventure Publications also publishes Wild Berries & Fruits (WBF), by Teresa Marrone.
A second great series of reference books is published by Kollath & Stensaas Publishing in Duluth, MN. Two of which we are using:
Insects of the North Woods (INW), by Jeffrey Hahn
Spiders of the North Woods (SNW), by Larry Weber
Perhaps our best single reference book for wildflowers is the 1996 edition of: Wildflowers, Northeastern/North-central North America, (WFNC), by Rogher Peterson & Margaret McKenny. It's many illustrations are often more helpful then actual photos.
A close runner-up for wild flowers is the 3rd edition of What's Doin' the Bloomin'? (WDB) by Clayton Oslund, published by Plant Pics, LLC in Duluth.
In addition, we are using:
Birds of North America, A Guide to Field Identification (BNA). Golden Press, New York, 1966.
Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America (WFNA). David M. Brandenburg, Sterling Publishing, New York, 2010
Trees of North America, A Guide to Field Identification (TNA). Golden Press, New York, 1968.
Weeds of the West (WW). Published by The Western Society of Weed Science through the University of Wyoming, 1996.
And as we watch them, they watch us.